Thursday, August 23, 2012

Special Artist - Janet Searfoss

I have been wanting to write a blog for a long time about a wonderful artist, Janet Searfoss.  Janet and her husband, Harold, have Searfoss Designs.  Janet's roll is the artist and creator behind these incredible pieces of art.  Harold's roll is the matting, framing, bagging and all the behind the scenes work. They make a great team.  

Autumn Sentinels - The original is at Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts for sale.

Janet's artform is Batik.  
"Batik is an art form dating back 2,000 years ago.  Batiks were found in 
the tombs of Pharaohs and are now associated with Indonesian culture.  
The Indonesian word "Batik" means "wax writing".  The wax resist 
process is also referred to as "Rozome" in Japan.  The Japanese 
version of batik consists of direct application of dyes and wax on silk.  
The Indonesian technique usually uses cotton cloth and does 
immersing into dyes and also direct application.  The wax resist process 
consists of applications of hot wax onto fabric using brushes and  
tjanting tools.  Tjanting tools are made of a wooden shaft with a metal 
reservoir with a tiny metal tube that allows wax to flow onto the fabric 
leaving  lines or dots..  The fabric is then immersed into dyes and on
the unwaxed areas accept the dye.  The process is repeated to attain 
each new color working from the lightest color to the darkest.  The 
waxed areas get bent and the cracks or fractures allow the dye to 
penetrate leaving fine lines of color referred to as "crackle" or "ice". 
Janet refers to the crackle as the thumbprint of batik.  The wax is 
removed through ironing the fabric between newsprint which absorbs 
the wax.  The finished batik is drymounted onto foamcore, matted and 
framed." (taken from Janet's website)

Carmel Snowflake - a new piece by Janet

What impresses me more than the beauty of Janet's pieces is the fact that she is so prolific.  Some of these pieces take Jane more than 100 hours of work, yet she produces so many in such a sort period of time.  She must just eat, sleep, and batik.  
Silent Hunter - another new one

Wing Swept - the latest

Janet creates prints from her originals.  She produces 100 of each size.  After they are sold out - that is it.  There are a few of the prints that are no longer available.  Please check out her website for all of the amazing pieces that she has done.

If you purchase from Liquidambar Gallery and Gifts, at 80 Hillsboro, Pittsboro, you will not pay the shipping and handling.  Also, Liquidambar has some of the prints that are no longer available on-line, such as:
Wind Break

Liquid Light

Monday, August 13, 2012

Clint leaving for the Army

As a mother I am having very mixed emotions today.  My youngest child, only boy, Clinton, left to join the U.S. Army.  This is not something new or sudden, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.  I guess I would feel the same if he was heading off to college like so many others are doing this week.  He is moving on to the next step of his life.

Clint taking the Army Oath.

Last Wednesday:

We celebrated by taking Clint, his girl friend, Chyanne, Nancy (my girl), her boyfriend, Andy, and John and I, out to Clint's favorite restaurant, Red Lobster. 

Me and Clint
Clint and Chyanne
Nancy and Andy

John and Me
Nancy put together a scrap book of old photos for Clint.  She then wrote different experiences they had together, some funny, some serious, some just remembering the good times spent together.  I thought this was the sweetest thing that anyone could do for him.  I know that he will treasure it forever.

Last night (Sunday):

 Nancy and I took Clinton to Raleigh for check-in at MEPS.  After check-in, they told him he had until 10:30pm to report back.  We decided to go out to dinner to spend a little bit of time together.

Nancy and Clint

Being silly

Looking good.

Then we still had time before he had to report, so we decided to head to down town Raleigh and go bowling.

Clint and his style
Andy keeping score - Yes, this bowling alley is old time.  You have to score your own!
Clint making up his score.
Me looking tired and Nancy looking beautiful.
Like Mother, like Son.
After a number of games, we had to head back to the hotel, so Clint could report in.  It ended up being a really good night.  We then hugged and said our good-byes.  

This morning the new recruits left on a bus for Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where he will be in Basic Training for about 9 1/2 weeks.  Then onto Ft. Lee, Virginia for another 13 weeks and then to Ft. Benning, GA, for his final training.  I know that time will pass quickly and he will come back a man instead of the boy he is now.  But, I will miss him more than he will ever know while he is away.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Homemade Hot Pepper Sauce

I had a bummer crop of Jalapeno peppers come in yesterday.  This is about 2/3 of what I used. (Sorry the picture is sideways.)

Hot Peppers form my garden
The jalapeño is one of the most common types of peppers in the United States. Many people like this type of pepper because of its spicy yet not overwhelming taste. Jalapeño are usually either red or green and are about two to three inches long. Their Scoville Heat Index is typically around 5,000, however jalapeños can range anywhere from 2,000 to 8,000. These peppers, when used sparingly, add just the right amount of spicy flavor to most Mexican dishes. Many people also deep fry jalapeño which are stuffed with cheese for a tasty yet spicy appetizer.

I decided that there was no way I would be able to use these before they went bad.  A good way is just to freeze them, but I always seem to forget whatever is hiding in my freezer.  I looked up a number of recipes, but didn't find anything that I really wanted to try.  Plus, I didn't have any Mangoes or Pawpaws in my fruit bowl to make a salsa.

I first cut them into small slices. (The picture shows about 1/3 of the total peppers that I used.)

And then I added a cup of sugar and a cup of vinegar and three large cloves of finely cut garlic.  I just let that simmer for about an hour.  I strained most of the liquid out, only because I wanted it to be more meaty.  Then I put it into a glass jar.

This must be refrigerated, but it will keep pretty much forever.  The hottness and flavor will get better with time.  This is a great sauce to use with Bourbon stir-fry chicken.  Be careful, it is very HOT!  I know that it is just Jalapenos, but look at all the seeds just waiting.

Photo Shoot at the Railroad

One of John's and my great friends, Scott, took us out to the old railroad station so we could shoot some photos.  As you probably know,...